On December 1 and 2, 2018, I was privileged to speak at the missions weekend for Northfield Community Church in Northfield, MN. You can find more information on the church here.

I gave two messages. The first, “The Gospel and the Church’s Ministry to the Poor,” unpacks the role of the church as one to be judged under “the law of liberty” in doing ministry to orphans and widows, which is “pure religion” (Jas 1:27; 2:12). I supply seven reasons why the church must engage in holistic mercy ministry:

  1. Carrying out the gospel ministry Christ initiated, God calls us to remember the poor (Mark 2:17; Luke 4:18–19; Gal 2:9–10; 1 John 3:17; cf. Deut 15:7–8, 11; Ps 41:1; Prov 14:31).
  2. Our care for the poor is a necessary consequence of our personal experience of gospel grace––both common grace (Matt 5:44–45) and saving grace (2 Cor 8:9; 9:13; Jas 2:5; 1 John 3:16; cf. Exod 22:21; 23:9; Deut 10:19; 24:17–18, 21–22).
  3. Loving and following God necessitates that we delight in what he delights and go where he goes, which includes care for the poor (Deut 10:12, 18–19; Jer 9:23–24; Matt 5:43–48; Luke 6:35–36; Jas 2:5).
  4. In loving the poor, we are manifesting and proving our love for Christ (Matt 5:44–45; 25:40; Luke 6:35; 2 Cor 8:1–2, 8, 24; 9:13; cf. Prov 14:31; 19:17).
  5. Failure to extend mercy to needy believers identifies that we ourselves are not believers and liable for severe judgment (Matt 25:41–45; Jas 2:8–9, 12–13).
  6. Care for the poor serves as a pointer to the eternal-saving grace of the gospel and supplies a context from which to evangelize, speaking of relief from eternal suffering (Matt 5:16, 44–45; John 6:14, 26–27, 35; 9:1–7, 35–41; cf. Gen 8:20–22; Acts 14:17; Rom 2:4; 3:25–26).
  7. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, God is reconciling “to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of the cross” (Col 1:20). Through care for the poor we are declaring and demonstrating the already elements of Jesus’s declaring, “I am making all things new” (Rev 21:5; cf. 2 Cor 5:17; Rev. 7:15–17).

PowerPoint / Handout